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Lee statue removed from US Capitol is now in Virginia museum

RICHMOND, Va. - The Robert E. Lee statue that stood in the U.S. Capitol on behalf of the state of Virginia for 111 years has been taken to a museum in Richmond.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the 700-pound bronze statue of Lee arrived Tuesday at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture. It was removed from the U.S. Capitol early Monday.

The statue likely will not be displayed for several years. Andrew Talkov, the museum’s senior director for curatorial affairs, said the museum will strive to put the statue in context by telling its story from multiple perspectives. Those include when and why it was created and when and why state leaders removed it more than a century later.

Confederate monuments have reemerged as a national flash point since the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam requested the statue’s removal and a state commission decided that Lee was not a fitting symbol for the state.

The commission has recommended replacing Lee’s statue with one of Barbara Johns. She protested conditions at her all-Black high school in 1951. Her court case became part of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down racial segregation in public schools.
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